The Bride's Guide to Wedding Music and Musicians
Thank you for choosing live music for your special day. Live music adds so much to the entire atmosphere of your wedding festivities. Not only you, but your guests are impacted by the beauty and memories of the music. Below you will find valuable information to help answer questions, followed by a sample duo song list.
Why do I enjoy performing for wedding ceremonies?
I am a romantic at heart and always have been. As a professional musician, I find that performing for weddings is a wonderful way to express my musicianship while playing some of the most beautiful music written. And, it is a joy to work with the wonderful brides, grooms and the families, some of which become lifelong friends!
What do I offer as a wedding musician?
I offer numerous years of experience as a wedding musician and the flexibility to work with the clients special requests and needs. I perform in duos with the most professional violinists and flutists in the area and offer a large amount of music for brides to choose from. Plus, having my Masters degree in music, I have musical expertise that is necessary when doing any professional playing. And I always treat wedding music as a professional performance.
Is there anything you don't do?
I am not trained as a jazz or rock guitarist. I play classical, acoustic finger style guitar. If you wish to have a rock guitarist, I can recommend groups if you desire. But for ceremony music, the romantic softer sound of a classical guitar can't be beat.
When contacting a musician, your first question is not "How much do you charge?" The reason for this is that prices vary depending on the location of the wedding, the length of time needed, the number of musicians being hired and any special needs that the bride/groom may have. Always give the location of your wedding, the time of your wedding (musicians can do several weddings in one day), and as many details as you can so the musician can give you an accurate price. And ask "are you available?" I personally get hired a full year in advance for both weddings and concerts so make sure you ask about my availability. I have an online form to make it convenient for brides to contact me for price information.
Things to think about when hiring musicians:
Is your wedding indoors or outdoors? Whether indoors or out, all musicians will need armless chairs for seating. Also, musicians need covering for outdoor ceremonies. Musicians cannot perform in adverse weather conditions. The sun damages the varnish on most instruments and the heat of direct sunlight, or cold weather, causes instruments to go out of tune. Outdoor weddings in Colorado often see rain/snow showers and musicians cannot have their instruments and amps get wet. Plus, playing an instrument with very cold hands is almost impossible. Shelter for outdoor festivities for musicians is necessary.
Always have "Plan B" ready in case of adverse weather. There is nothing more miserable than seeing your guests freezing in the cold or having to use umbrellas to protect themselves from rain or direct hot sunlight.
Style of Music:
When you hire a live musician, you are hiring a "sound" and "style" of music. Musicians are not DJ's and, although most musicians can play any song, the style and sound might not fit the group. Think of the fabric your wedding dress was made of. Only certain types of material work for a wedding dress. If you asked to have a dress made out of canvas, or polyester, it would not work well. Even actors cannot play every role, even though they might be exquisite on stage. I was once asked to play the theme from Star Wars on solo guitar. After I played it for the bride at our consultation, she realized it sounded ridiculous on solo guitar and nothing like the orchestra brass version in the movie. One harpist was asked to play a rap tune on her solo harp but it could not be done. Picture a rock band trying to play Mozart or Bach........ You get the idea.
Consult with your musician about the songs you wish performed. Some songs work well for the live musician, others don't. Your musician will guide you in what will and what won't work.
Parts of the Ceremony Where Music is Performed:
Prelude: this is when the guests are arriving. Most of the time, the bride or groom does not have to pick selections for this part of the ceremony. The musicians will play beautiful romantic music to set the mood.
Seating of Mothers: you will pick one song for the seating of mothers and grandmothers, if any.
Attendance entrance: you will pick one song for the entrance of the minister, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and ring bearer (if any).
Your bridal processional song: This is the important song! You walk down the aisle to this one song.
Music during the ceremony: some ceremonies have a spot for music, other don't. Check with your minister/pastor/rabbi to see if you need music during your service. Spots where music can be included are: lighting of the unity candle, communion, sand ceremony, a meditation, the bride circling the groom (Jewish), just to name a few ideas.
Recessional: This is the song that you and your husband will walk out to, along with the bridal party. This is usually an upbeat joyous song to celebrate your new life.
Brides that want to request special songs not in my repertoire must pay for the sheet music. Sheet music is needed in order for the violin (or flute) and myself to accurately perform the songs. If sheet music does not exist, a $50 per hour charge is added in order to cover the time it takes to figure out songs by ear from a recording and to write out the notes for the duo.
It is best to have all music selections finalized 2 weeks before your wedding. Any special requests will not be accepted within 2 weeks of your wedding day.